BY Dave B.
In Netflix’s Messiah, a mysterious man gains a following in Syria after seemingly miraculously saving Damascus from being overrun by ISIS. After the man accomplishes several more unexplained “miracles”, including saving a girl from a tornado that wrecks a Texas town, he gains an international following. But a hardened CIA agent is determined to prove that the mystery man, now regarded as the Son of God by many, is actually a dangerous fraud.
Whether or not you like Messiah is largely going to depend on what it is that you want to get out of it. If you’re looking for a well-crafted mystery, or intense action, or a stellar plot, you’re likely to end up disappointed because Messiah has none of those things. The 10 episode series is plagued by inconsistent pacing both within and between episodes. And the premise itself, while not completely implausible, doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny: in this day and age, with all of the technology and skepticism of a thousand generations of people at our fingertips, if someone alive today plausibly exhibits unexplained insight or abilities, it may be premature to bestow the mantle of divinity upon them, but it would be equally premature to dismiss them out of hand without extensive testing.
Be that as it may, despite my quibbles with Messiah, it’s pretty entertaining and certainly binge-able. At least it is if what you want to get out of it is a realistic sociological depiction of how individuals tend to respond to things that they don’t understand. And that’s where the magic in this show truly lies. For the most part, the reactions of people who encounter this mystery man (and those who have never met him, but have been impacted by his existence) are very believable. He never claims nor denies divinity, but everyone takes his sayings, teachings, and exhortations as proof that he is or isn’t what they want to believe he is or is not. The writers of this show may not know how to keep a plot moving, but they’re on the ball when it comes to what tends to motivate people.
Overall, Messiah is a very interesting, if imperfectly executed show and I am recommending it because, despite it’s flaws, it’s engaging. The performances are generally good, most of the main characters are relatively easy to sympathize with (most of the time), and the show makes you want to keep watching so that you can see how everything turns out. All in all, I don’t usually need much more than that to enjoy a show. The insight into human behavior is just icing on the cake. Messiah isn’t perfect, but it’ll definitely do.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.